After all the trouble I went to getting my FREE TURKEY, as documented last week... I am beginning to think that I did not get a bargain.
It was an 11.75 lb fowl. I thawed it for three days in FRIG II. I let it rest at room temperature for 45 minutes before sliding it into the oven. It was supposed to be an hour for that size turkey, according to my estranged BFF Google, but I hit the snooze button a few too many times.
I turned my oven on to warm at 400, then dropped it to 350 when I put the bird in the oven. I put a little bit of water in the roasting pan, under the rack, to keep my oven interior moist. I patted the turkey dry after unwrapping it and wrenching its neck from inside its gullet. I rubbed on some vegetable oil to brown the skin. I put foil loosely over the top for the first hour of the 2.5 that it was cooking. Then I moved the foil to just the leg part of the turkey.
The little red thingy popped up at 2.5 hours. I had The Pony lift that heavy bird out of the oven and set it on top. It looked great! The skin was a perfect shade of brown. The only hiccup was the leg condition. That turkey had chicken legs! Not robust, renaissance-fair, snack-stand legs. Thin legs. Almost as if it had been raised in a cage, and rarely allowed to walk!
Anyhoo... as Hick was carving the turkey, I told him to SLICE it, not saw it. He denied sawing, and said the knife was dull (one that he brought home from his factory whose business was making cutting products for butchers) and that he was slicing. I guess that was my first clue...
I chose a turkey leg for my plate. I like dark meat. I waved it around like a drum major's baton, decreeing that I was going to toast my FREE TURKEY leg with a flagon of mead. Hick and The Pony truly do not appreciate my sense of humor...
Anyhoo... as I ripped the flesh off that magnificent drumstick, I felt the need to chew past the normal swallowing point. The meat was a little tough. I attributed that to my cooking. Sure, I kept the legs under foil. But I did set the temp at 350 rather than the 325 the package suggested. I was willing to take responsibility for overcooking those fowl gams.
The Pony chose white meat turkey, and also a bit of the Kentucky ham that Hick had requested. He made tiny sandwiches on Sister Schubert's Rolls. As he got full, he had a bit of turkey left, which he donated to me. It was about two bites, and chewed like ten. When I mentioned that fact, Hick said his turkey was a little tough, too.
"It's like when you get chicken breasts sometimes, and the fibers are all twisty, and it chews like gum. I guess turkeys have that problem sometimes, too. I should have known that nobody would give away a GOOD turkey for free!"
Before we had put the rolls in the oven, I had told The Pony to slip in a foil pan holding the neck and heart and a scrap of liver. The surprise that came inside the turkey.
"I'm going to feed these to the dogs later."
In trying to also bake the hash brown casserole, and a foil pan of some ham slices (no need to cook the whole ham, with a full turkey sitting on the stove redistributing its juices), we saw that our last-minute two pans of Sister Schubert's Rolls were not going to fit.
"I guess you can take out the neck and heart and liver. I can put that back in when the rolls are done."
"You know they're DOGS, right? And you don't have to cook for them? Because they eat this stuff raw."
The Pony is such a joy to have in our home...
"Okay, okay! Take them out, they'll be fine. They're already part-way cooked."
Since Hick insisted on giving the dogs the turkey carcass after dinner, I withheld the neck, heart, and liver until Friday. As I was leaving for town, I gave Juno a wing flap thingy, and held out the neck to Jack. Hick said Juno got most of the carcass, so Jack should get the neck.
JACK SNIFFED IT AND ARCHED HIS BACK LIKE A CAT! He looked like a croquet wicket! He shuddered, and turned away as if he felt nauseous!
"Okay, then. You don't know what you're missing! We'll give it to the glutton!"
I reached that turkey neck into Juno's house, where she lurks like an eel in a crevice at the bottom of the ocean. At any given time, she has at least one antler, one skull, and assorted long leg bones littering the floor of her domain.
JUNO WOULD NOT TAKE THE TURKEY NECK! She sniffed it, and retreated farther from the door. With assorted dead things in various states of decay lining her parlor, Juno refused the FREE TURKEY neck!